Our Youth in Need
Nearly one million children are abused, neglected, abandoned or orphaned each year in the U.S.
In any given month, 30,000 children and youth are caught up in the foster care system in Los Angeles County due to abuse, neglect and abandonment. An average foster youth has eight placements before they age out when they turn 18. Only half graduate high school and less than 3% earn a college degree.
50% of the youth who emancipate from the foster system end up homeless on our streets. This is a 24% increase in homeless 18-24 year-old young people in Los Angeles County from the previous year.
Pimps use child sex workers to recruit other foster children who are living in shelters and foster homes. The average age of entry into prostitution is 12-years-old, and the average life expectancy following entry is seven years.
More than 550 kids under age 18 are not sheltered. LGBTQ+ youth have a 120% increased risk of experiencing homelessness.
California has the highest child poverty rate in the nation with 1,618,889 poor kids. Los Angeles County is at the top with 27.8% of our children living in poverty. That’s more than 80% in LAUSD’s public schools.
This can lead to homelessness and violence. These kids have a higher rate of absenteeism and school dropouts, which is around 50% in our inner-city schools. Studies show that young adult high school dropouts have lower earnings and higher incarceration rates than their better educated peers. A dropout will end up costing taxpayers around $292,000 over a lifetime due to incarceration and how much less they pay in taxes.
More than 17,000 LAUSD students are homeless right now. That’s a low-estimate. The estimated graduation rate for homeless students is less than 25%. In addition, 47% of homeless school age children have problems such as anxiety, depression, or withdrawal compared to 18% of other children.
There are 120,000 gang members in LA County. During the last three years, over 16,398 violent gang crimes were committed in Los Angeles.
California has more than double the national average youth incarceration rate. 11,532 children are locked up each year at an annual cost of $232,000 per youth.
There’s a PTSD epidemic in the inner-city that’s impacting tens of thousands of our children, especially those who have suffered from abuse. Symptoms include severe anxiety, insomnia, mistrust and hostility. Left untreated, PTSD can become chronic, with enormous personal and societal costs.
Studies prove that art therapy is the most effective treatment to reduce the symptoms of PTSD. Create Now’s programs provide essential opportunities for the most troubled youth to heal from trauma, change their lives by building their confidence and self-esteem, and develop skills that can lead to jobs and careers.